Better services

“The psychologist could only come to these schools on an irregular basis as the distance and numbers of school to cover was large.”

March 16, 2015

My stomach tightens when I read about children fitting where they and/or their parents want them to be in or outside the school system. My stress is retroactive, going back to the days when my 27-year-old was school age.

Where and in what program a child should get her or his education is probably the most difficult decision for parents to make.  Recently, when I attended a friend’s film about schooling children, I witnessed the stress and even pain in young parents’ voices and body language.

It took me back to when I , too, thought my child would be denied a successful life if I made one little wrong decision. It was only later that I was comforted by Deepak Chopra’s words about there being no such thing as failure, only trying different things until we get a number of fits.

Some of us wants our children inside the school system. Others do not. When it comes to differently abled people, I am sure they want to have the same choice that everyone else does. Here is an article about how things were for disabled young people in relation to the school system in rural southern Saskatchewan in the 1980s:

Gravelbourg Gazette

February 9m 1983

Better services

by Tanya Lester

The Shared Services Program in the four area school divisions would continue to provide a better service for handicapped students if the Department of Education agrees to contribute pro-rated grant money to the program, according to Murray Huck, Assiniboia-Borderland-Wood River (ABW) Shared Services secretary.

In September, 1982, the present Shared Services Program, which includes the Gravelbourg School Division , was established to provide better services for handicapped students which includes the frequent visitation of Educational Psychologist Gordon Toth to area schools.

Prior to this time, an educational psychologist from Swift Current was responsible for the four school divisions as well as numerous others. The psychologist could only come to these schools on an irregular basis as the distance and numbers of schools to cover was large.

ABW Shared Services representatives have met with the Department of Education concerning the possibility of funding to the program. Mr. Huck said Shared Services would be satisfied if they were to receive a pro-rated grant from the Department.

As the Department normally only issues grants to areas taking in 7000 students or more. Mr. Huck said Shared Services would be willing to accept 4/7 of the regular amount of allotted money for the 4,000 students in the area divisions which take in 30 schools.

Mr. Toth added that it had been the understanding of those involved in education throughout the divisions’ area, if the Shared Services was established, the Department of  Education grant money would become available. However, Mr. Huck did not want to outline in detail any discussions between ABW Shared Services and the Department of Education concerning the grant until he has heard results of meetings with two of the three different groups which have been approached for the funding.

But Mr. Huck said Shared Services has been operating in the area divisions, under a different format, since 1968. The Guiding Light School, with its own independent school board, served the area’s handicapped children. It was funded through the provincial government’s Social Services.

Upon closure due to lack of numbers, the school’s students, who had mostly reached their late teens and early twenties, were transferred to group homes in Moose Jaw or entered sheltered workshops.

Presently, each school division in the ABW Shared Services contributes money towards the educational psychologist’s employment at a rate directly related to the number of handicapped children in the particular division.

In Gravelbourg, the school division was charged $4,054 in 1982 and $7,497 for 1983 as its contribution to the Shared Services Program.

Each school division also receives a “high costs” grant from the Department of Education based on the number of students with learning disabilities in the division. But Mr. Huck said because students with disabilities in rural areas cannot be brought together in one school as they can in the cities, extra grant money is needed over and above the “high costs” grant.

Mr. Huck hopes to hear from the groups approached for the grant money by the beginning of March.



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